Disability Fraud – Challenging Stereotypes Part 1
There is a perception, perpetuated mainly by right-leaning politicians and media outlets, that the Social Security Disability program is heavily burdened with fraud.
Some politicians even characterize individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance as “gaming the system”. This perception is both harmful and false. It is disrespectful to those who collect disability to assume they are capable of working but too lazy to do so. The entire point of the disability determination process is to weed out false claims and ensure only those who really need help are getting it. Fraudulent Social Security claims are very rare, and it is important for voters and policy makers to have a rational perspective of the issue.
It is right to be angry at those who would take advantage
of a program like Social Security Disability Insurance.
If someone who is not disabled lies to collect benefits, they are drawing money from the system that should be used to help someone more deserving. Cases of fraud should be thoroughly investigated and diligently prosecuted. However, actual cases of fraud are very rare. The former Social Security Administration Commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, estimated that less than one percent of disability claims are fraudulent. Perception affects policy. If the public thinks those on Disability are “gaming the system” they will vote for politicians who advocate cutting funding of benefits programs. The Social Security System is very efficient and effective at preventing fraud; they are operating on a minimal budget as is.
Someone on disability is three to five times more likely to die in a given year than someone else in their age bracket.
It seems redundant, but if you look at those on disability as a demographic, it’s clear they are more likely to suffer serious health problems than the general population. Those on disability have much higher rates of physical inactivity, which leads to higher rates of obesity and heart disease. An individual collecting disability is more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line as someone who is not disabled. Nearly 30% of disability beneficiaries live in poverty, and the majority of beneficiaries are unemployed. People claim disability because they are unable to work, not because they are unwilling.
It is very difficult to get on disability; even to the point where many who need it are having trouble qualifying.
Nearly 60 percent of applicants are turned away. Compared to similar programs internationally, it is harder to collect disability in America than almost any other first-world country. The Center for Disease Control reports that 18.7% of people have a disability and over 12% have a severe disability. In contrast, only about 5% of Americans collect benefits from Social Security. This suggests that the opposite problem exists. Not that too many people are faking aliments to get on Social Security, but that the requirements of Social Security are too strict and not enough people are being helped.
If you are one of the one and a half million Americans who applied for benefits and was denied, contact our law firm for a free consultation. We have experience helping clients make successful claims with the Social Security Administration. There is no money due if your claim is ultimately denied.
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